Dancing contest in classical times

Por: Kalliopi Panopoulou.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Dance is a phenomenon closely connected with the culture within which is developed. In the ancient times, according to the literature that has been preserved and the arts, it has been noted that dance has always played an important role as far as religion, education and the everyday life of the ancient Greeks is concerned. Plato mentions that the first causes of the sense of ‘rhythm and harmony’ were Apollo, the Muses and Dionysus, and that those that did not know how to dance were considered uneducated.


The purpose of this study is the collection and presentation of elements that are relevant to the recognition of the contesting spirit not only during the athletic games, but also during the dancing competitions that took place in the course of celebrations.


Through the primary and secondary sources as well as through many descriptive monuments, there has been an effort to present elements that indicate the great importance for the ancient Greeks not only of the athletic but also of the dancing competitions.

Discussion - Conclusions

The dancing competitions took place in several parts of Greece in honor of Apollo, Dionysus, Jupiter or Athena. Athens, Sparta, Delos and Larissa were cities that held the dancing competitions and there were rewards that were given to the participants. According to Plato’s testimony, we know the existence of judges, but we do not know under which conditions the dancers competed with each other.

To sum up, we could claim that in ancient Greece the athletic activities went together with the artistic activities, laying great emphasis on dance.




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